Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Word for word

Today, on my way home from work, I picked up an Elvis book I hadn't seen before, for a bargain price at a bookstore. The title of the book is Elvis: word for word, and it's written by Jerry Osborne, an avid Elvis collector and author of the Presleyana price guide.

The idea behind the book is to collect all the verifiable things Elvis said in interviews, at press conferences, wrote in letters and spoke at concerts. By presenting everything in chronological order the author feels this is the closest we will ever get an Elvis autobiography.

To me, it's the personal written letters (few as they may be) along with a transcription of the telephone conversation Elvis had with Red West in 1976, that are the most exposing. By reading them it's possibly to get a glimpse of what Elvis thought privately about such things as love and friendship. And, sadly, it's all to evident that he was deeply disturbed at the end of his life.

The interviews are another interesting chapter, especially the early ones. But after a while I realize that they are very much alike, with the same questions about how Elvis started out, what he thinks about the screaming fans, if he's to be married soon and so on. The exception is the revealing interview Lloyd Sharer did with Elvis in 1962, presented in parts on the Elvis Aron Presley box set.

A lot of the last part of the book consists of transcripts from his concerts, but after a while I get tired of reading variations of "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Wayne Newton." That doesn't add much in the way of an "autobiography," it only reminds me of Having Fun With Elvis On Stage.

More interesting is the information that Elvis received a boxed 16 mm copy of each of his films, for which he was required to sign an agreement like the one for Fun In Acapulco: "I hereby agree that the film will be for my personal use only at my home and I will not use it in any way commercially or for profit."


Anonymous said...

Hello, here a word from a Elvis fan in the Nederlands, Rotterdam.

i Like your site and i read a lot on it,
keep going!!
Thumps up!

Greets From Rotterdam

Keith said...

That sounds like a really cool book. I guess it is fascinating to actually be able to read over the words of Elvis. You get a better idea of what was on his mind.

Mike Edwards said...

You know, I have had this book for a long time but never got around to reading it. Reading your post makes me want to. I will have to get around to it soon. Nice post.